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SFPL RECAP: The Road To Boston With Amtrak

The last two years of my life have taken an exciting turn as some of my dreams as a young brown boy growing up in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, have really come true. I was no stranger to imagination as a child, but there was one thing that fascinated me way more than anything, and that was travel. I dreamed of getting on planes, running late for trains and hopping into taxis, just like I saw in my favorite movies and television shows.

At the top of 2016, in an effort to create realistic New Year’s resolutions, I vowed to visit every state in The United States. I mean, why not? I was born and raised in America, Who said I needed to stick to a few states and never visit the others? In order to do that though, I’d needed to do it in a way that would factor in my busy work schedule. Oxymoron right? I thought so too, until I found the best solution imaginable, Amtrak.

I represent the social generation and just happen to have a job that relies on the pulse of social media. So I can’t afford to take many pauses in my line of work. A few hours away from social media can result in missing breaking news and reporting it in a timely manner. Hopping on a plane can be a nightmare if the Wi-Fi isn’t working properly, not to mention the extra cost considering the fact that plane tickets are not cheap.

Amtrak was my ride of choice when I made my first visit to Washington D.C., and I couldn’t forget the supreme luxury and comfort of the quiet car (I’ll get to that in a second), oh, and did I mention no traffic? So now I had my sites set on discovering my next state, Massachusetts. Specifically, Boston. Best known for fish & chips, the Freedom Trail and “Cheers”, among other things, I was ready to add another notch to my belt, Amtrak style.

All aboard! Business Class!

I took my best friend, Harlem, who had also never been to Boston with me to enjoy the festivities. He’s a head chef at a busy Manhattan eatery and could have used some relaxation just as much as me! The boarding process was effortless. My tickets were scanned quickly, and I wasn’t asked again for the remainder of the trip. I couldn’t have asked for a better seat, because there is NO MIDDLE SEAT! The overhead compartment was perfect for our overnight carry-ons. And I couldn’t recline fast enough! The legroom was reminiscent of the space I’m use to in the comfort section of my favorite airline. I can’t tell you how priceless that is. The ride was smooth, the sights were so lovely they distracted me from my computer a few times (the complimentary Wi-Fi was very speedy might I add), and I took advantage of the café car on my arriving and departing trains. I must mention that the wine and cheese basket was amazing, and put me in the mood to catch a quick much needed nap before I returned to NYC.

How was Boston, you asked? Clean as a whistle. I didn’t get fish & chips, but I did take in some authentic tacos that were absolutely scrumptious! I stayed at the Boston Wyatt Waterfront, luxuriated in the Jacuzzi, and took a few walks on the waterfront. Because I was able to get some work done on the way there, I was able to unplug, which was priceless.

I’m super excited for my next state, as Amtrak will definitely be my travel choice. I already have my heart set on the quiet car in business class, but #staytuned for that adventure!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Amtrak, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make our blog possible.

-Stay Fly!

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Fly News: BeyoncÉ Continues World Domination Launches Fitness Brand Ivy Park

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Rumors have been swirling of an impending new album from Queen Bey, and while we’ll have to wait and see if she delivers another surprise album, what we do know for sure is Beyoncé will be blessing the hive with some dope new threads.

Last year we learned Sasha Fierce was teaming up with Top Shop to create her own line of athleisure wear. Today she announced the launch of her new fitness brand Ivy Park with a commercial oozing with female strength and inspiration.

It seems B is not only taking her talents to Top Shop, but Net-a-Porter and Nordstrom along with a handful of other retailers overseas. Ivy Park will be available online and in stores on April 14th.

The line features fitness basics like leotards, sweats, swimwear, tops, shorts, and headbands. Beyoncê has managed to make athleisure wear for the fashionista in all of us.

The name for her new line was of course inspired by her daughter Blue Ivy Carter who makes an appearance in the video, and the childhood park she speaks about in the two minute preview.

“I would wake up in the morning and my dad would come knocking on my door, tell me it’s time to go running. I remember wanting to stop, but I would push myself to keep going. He taught me discipline and I would think about my dreams. I would think about the sacrifices my parents made for me. I would think about my little sister and how I was her hero. There are things I’m still afraid of. When I have to conquer those things, I go back to that park.”

Beyoncé can also be seen sporting her new line on the cover of Elle and Elle UK for their Women In Music/May 2016 issues. Queen Bey sat down with ELLE for a rare in-depth interview where they discussed freedom, feminism, her new fashion line Ivy Park, and tons more. The May issue of Elle will be available digitally April 5th and on newsstands April 6.

For more information on B’s latest venture you can head over to IvyPark.com. You watch the commercial for Ivy Park below. What do you think of Beyoncé’s foray into the world of fitness wear? Will you be flocking online or to your nearest retailer when it drops April 14?

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Last Night In NYC: WE tv Celebrates Premiere Of New Legal Docu-series ‘Sisters in Law’

"NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 23: (L-R) Jolanda Jones, Monique Chantelle Sparks, Tiye Tarita Foley, Rhonda Hunter, Vivian R. King, and Juanita Jackson attend as WE tv hosts exclusive premiere screening for new series "Sisters in Law" on March 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for WE tv)"
“NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 23: (L-R) Jolanda Jones, Monique Chantelle Sparks, Tiye Tarita Foley, Rhonda Hunter, Vivian R. King, and Juanita Jackson attend as WE tv hosts exclusive premiere screening for new series “Sisters in Law” on March 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for WE tv)”

WE tv has another hit on their hands! If the first episode of their 8 episode new docu-series Sisters in Law is any indication of what to expect, get ready for a weekly dose of law and order with a helping of shade.

Last night, We tv along with the Association of Black Women Attorneys (ABWA), celebrated the premiere of its latest show Sisters in Law. Held at the Museum of Art & Design, invited guests included New York tastemakers and media treated to a cocktail reception followed by a screening of the first episode. After the screening cast members Jolanda JonesJuanita JacksonRhonda WillsVivian KingMonique Sparks, and Tiye Foley participated in a Q&A session moderated by TV and radio host, Jacque Reid.

"NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 23: (L-R) Jacque Reid Vivian R. King, Juanita Jackson, Jolanda Jones, Tiye Tarita Foley, Rhonda Hunter and Monique Chantelle Sparks speak onstage as WE tv hosts exclusive premiere screening for new series "Sisters in Law" on March 23, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images for WE tv)"

Attendees included Naturi Naughton, TV/Radio personality Bevy Smith, Elle Varner, Judge Lauren Lake of Paternity Court, as well as reality stars Yandy Smith and Boogie Dash.

"WE tv Hosts Exclusive Premiere Screening For New Series "Sisters In Law""

Sisters in Law follows a group of six talented female black attorneys in Houston as they tackle some of the toughest cases in Texas. In spite of being in a field dominated by men – who are predominately white – these black women have risen through the ranks propelled by their relentless need to achieve justice for their clients. Bonded by their immense passion for law, their gender, and their race over the years they’ve established a close-knit professional and social group. With egos the size of Texas, they at times find themselves at odds as they juggle their careers, families, political aspirations, and social calendars; struggling to remain united in the face of fierce competition — under intense pressure to succeed.

Sisters in Law premieres tonight on We tv at 10 p.m. ET/PT and trust us you want to tune it. If you won’t take our word for it, watch the first look trailer below. If you’d like to check out more pictures from the evening hit the gallery below and remember stay fly!

 

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Fly Visual: FKA twigs Poetically Tousles Around In The Sheets For “Good To Love”

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FKA twigs brings us the visual for “Good To Love.” A bare, poetic video that flows and feels like a modern dance routine. We find Twigs lying in a bed under sheets that appear to go on for eternity; as she writhes, twists, and contorts elegantly. The visual perfectly complements the record, where she croons about loving someone and the pain the comes with being so vulnerable.

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Fly News: Nate Parker’s ‘The Birth Of A Nation’ Nabs $17.5 Million Acquisition Deal, Highest In Sundance History

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In the midst of this year’s #OscarSoWhite controversy Nate Parker’s The Birth Of A Nation has taken the Sundance Film Festival by storm, not only receiving rave reviews and standing ovations during screenings, but landing the highest acquisition deal in the film festival’s history.

Nate Parker’s film about the 1831 Nat Turner slave rebellion serves as a biographical drama. It tells the story of Nat Turner, a slave, preacher, and insurrection leader through hard hitting dramatizations of historical events surrounding his life and the rebellion he orchestrated. Turner’s rebellion called on enslaved and free blacks in the region of Southhampton County, VA to band together, and go from plantation to plantation killing white slave owners and freeing slaves.

If you don’t know who Nat Turner, it comes as no surprise considering the erasure of black people and their contributions to the building of this country from the history books. This is what inspired Parker to make this film. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter he describes not learning of Nat Turner and his rebellion until he took an African-American studies class at The University of Oklahoma, despite having grown up in Virginia.

“Imagine my dismay in learning that one of the greatest men to walk the soil in this country was a man who grew up and lived and breathed and fought less than 100 miles from where I grew up.”

While Parker believed in this project and getting to portray this forgotten hero, upon embarking on this journey he was given a barrage of reasons as to why a Nat Turner film wouldn’t work. From the usual culprits like movies with black leads don’t play internationally, and a period film wouldn’t work without a big box-office star as the lead, to period films with big fight scenes are too expensive, it’s too violent, and lastly that Turner was too controversial because he orchestrated the killing of a bunch of white people.

Rather than buy into Hollywood’s belief that a Nat Turner film wouldn’t be well received Parker pressed on and focused on securing funding. Parker’s passion and dedication to the project helped him acquire the $10 million needed to make the film.

Nate Parker of 'The Birth of a Nation' poses for a portrait at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Getty Images Portrait Studio Hosted By Eddie Bauer At Village At The Lift on January 25, 2016 in Park City, Utah
Nate Parker of ‘The Birth of a Nation’ poses for a portrait at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Getty Images Portrait Studio Hosted By Eddie Bauer At Village At The Lift on January 25, 2016 in Park City, Utah

When speaking with The Hollywood Reporter Jason Michael Berman of Mandalay Pictures had this to say about Parker’s ability to win over anyone.

“Anytime Nate got on the phone with anybody or got in the room with anyone, they were completely intrigued by him. The subject matter was tough — everybody knew that — but when they met Nate Parker, his drive, his passion and his determination were what sold them.”

The cast of The Birth Of A Nation includes Armie Hammer, Gabrielle Union and How to Get Away With Murder‘s Aja Naomi King. Union’s character however doesn’t speak a single line in the film, a intentional decision made by her and Parker.

“Our ancestors were never afforded a voice, so to me it was important that she stay voiceless so you really get that they didn’t have one,” she explained to Vulture.

It’s clear the Parker wants this film to educate, and spark important conversations regarding racism and the history of our nation. Parker’s choice to title the film The Birth Of A Nation serves to in some way reclaim the phrase from D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film of the same name, which offensively portrayed black men and women while glorifying the Ku Klux Klan. It is to act as a reminder of the dark history surrounding the birth of the United States and the forgotten heroes like Turner, who played a significant role in forming this nation. When speaking with Deadline he described wanting to create a film that would captivate audiences, and ultimately push them towards taking individual action that promotes change.

“It’s kind of like a battle cry from a filmmaking standpoint. I wanted a film that people could watch and be affected—almost hold them hostage in the theater, where they have to see these images, and they have to see the parallels and the themes that are echoing right now in 2016…And then they can’t unknow it, they can’t unsee what they saw, and when they leave they’ll have to ask themselves, ‘What is my role?’ and ‘Am I doing all I could be doing?’”

The overnight bidding war that ensued following the screening of The Birth Of A Nation only further dispels Hollywood’s long held beliefs regarding films with black leads. Fox Searchlight came out on top beating Netflix’s reportedly $20 million offer to distribute the film with a $17.5 million offer. Parker believes the fact that there was bidding war in itself is a powerful statement.

“There is a system, that is based on race, that says African American films don’t sell. So this is a win for independent filmmakers, this is a blow against white supremacy and racism in this country and abroad.”

Source: The Hollywood Reporter & Deadline

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We Like: Stay Warm And Comfortable with Converse Chuck Taylor All Star ’70 Wetsuit Collection

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Today, CONVERSE Inc. announces the new Converse Chuck Taylor All Star ‘70 “Wetsuit” Collection created to help combat the temperamental seasonal weather in style. The sneakers are released in two color-ways on the classic high-top model and draw creative references from protective, functional wetsuits that were developed in the 1970s, designed to keep surfers and divers warm and comfortable in cold water.

The weather ready silhouettes are offered in black and aquatic blue with a contemporary neoprene upper, that reveals a subtle “seal skin” graphic print texture on closer inspection. Technical features include an innovative, seam-sealed heel stay with fuzzed vertical zippers to allow easy on-off action, and a gusseted tongue. Gloss ankle patches, midsoles and toecaps compliment the look, as well as heavyweight black laces and yellow accent pops.

Converse First String is a limited-edition collection that celebrates craftsmanship, authenticity and collaboration at the highest level. The Converse Chuck Taylor All Star ‘70 “Wetsuit” Collection will be available for purchase starting Friday, October 30, 2015 at Converse flagship stores in the US, on Converse.com, and select premium retailers worldwide. They will retail for a SRP of $120 USD.

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We Like: Reebok Classic x Garbstore to launch FW15 Running Pack

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The ongoing  collaboration between Reebok Classic and iconic British menswear retailer Garbstore continues into October with the launch of a brand new Fall/Winter 2015 Running Pack, launching tomorrow, Saturday, October 10th.
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This new pack features two Men’s styles in autumnal tones – the Pump Running Dual Vnt, a mid top Pump sneaker, along with the Ventilator SDE, a low top suede sneaker. Both feature Garbstore’s reimaiginings of classic Reebok silhouettes using an inside-out, reverse detailing motif for a very distinctive look.
The Reebok Classic x Garbstore pack are available from October 10th at select stockists worldwide, with the Pump Running Dual Vnt retailing for $134.99 and the Ventilator SDE for $89.99 at retailers including Reebok.com, Urban Outfitters, and Jimmy Jazz. Look out for Josh Parkin’s campaign illustrations on Reebok.com/MeetGarbstore
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The Word: A Petition Has Been Filed For Funk Flex To Step Down From Hot 97

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Looks like the bombs on you big guy!

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Fans have spoken! And at this point, all 6,039 of them!

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After a failed attempt to deliver what was an EXTREME anticipated diss track from artist Meek Mill in response to Drake’s Charged Up” single, one person has had enough! So fed, Azeem Khan created a petition to have DJ Funk Master Flex step down from his position on Hot 97 and “surprisingly” he was not alone.

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Happy Birthday Kanye: Top 5 Kanye “Oh S…” Moments

Kanye

Happy Birthday to one of the world’s most hated yet loved person in the hip hop industry. Kanye West. Today, the musical genius turns 38, and in celebration of his big day; we are going to highlight some of the moments in his life time that made people say “oh s…” Yeah you know those moments. Get ready to go down memory lane with us after the jump…

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FLY News: Akon To Provide Electricity To 600 Million People In Africa

Akon To Provide 600 Million Africans With Electricity.

During the launch of a new “Solar Academy,” for Africa, recording artist/producer Akon announced he is planning to provide electricity to 600 million Africans who do not have any electricity. The academy is scheduled to be open this summer in Bamako, the capital of Mali.

The “Solar Academy” will give the African engineers and entrepreneurs the appropriate skills they will need to develop solar power. Also there will be European experts on board to help supply the correct equipment and programs needed for training.

Solar

Above is an example of what the good people in African can expect. Solar panels uses the sun’s energy to convert into electricity. Then there is a control device that enables it to power electrical items like lamps, televisions, radios etc. Once that is done the electricity passes through a breaker box to the house’s outlets and then that is when appliances will work.

Sounds like a lot but everything happens in one swift motion. Also since Africa is known to have the most days of sunshine a year, the organization believes that solar energy is the best way to provide electricity to those without it. Akon said “let there be light!” We agree.

Source: Huffington Post

– Stay Fly

[Fly Girl Dominique]